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CÉCILE DE FRANCE (Marie Lelay) first garnered public and critical acclaim in 2002, culminating in the César Award for Best Female Rising Star and the Prix Louis Lumière for her portrayal of Isabelle in "L'Auberge Espagnole (The Spanish Apartment). " Two years later, de France won a César Award for Best Supporting Actress for reprising the role of Isabelle in "Les Poupées Russes (The Russian Dolls).” She again received nominations for César Awards for her performances in Danièle Thompson's "Avenue Montaigne” in 2006 and Claude Miller's "Un Secret (A Secret)” in 2007.

Among her many films, "Around the World in 80 Days,” alongside Jackie Chan and Steve Coogan, and the horror/thriller "Haute Tension (High Tension),” directed by Alexandre Aja, opened the doors of Hollywood and playing varied roles on both continents.

Her most recent release in France was Nicolas Boukhrief's "Gardiens de L'ordre,(Guardians of Order),” starring alongside Fred Testot. She also won critical acclaim for "Soeur Sourire (Sister Smile)” and her portrayal of Jeanine Deckers, the famous Belgian singing nun, whose hit ‘60s single Dominique catapulted her to fame and controversy.

De France has performed alongside legends such as Gérard Depardieu in "Quand j'étais chanteur (When I Was a Singer)” ; Ulrich Tuku in "Où est la main de l'homme sans tête (The Hand of the Headless Man)”; and other great figures of French cinema, including Etienne Chatiliez, Cédric Klapisch, Claude Chabrol, and Jean-Francoise Richet, who directed her in "Mesrine: Public Enemy #1,” opposite Vincent Cassel.

Born in Naumur, Belgium, in 1975, de France began her acting career at age six. She continued her theatrical training in Paris at 17 and was subsequently selected to study at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Techniques du Théâtre (internationally known as La Rue Blanche), a rare honor for a non-French actor. Upon her graduation, Richard Berry offered de France a leading role in "L'art (délicat) de la Séduction” (The {delicate} art of seduction) and theatre and film roles quickly followed.

De France was invited to act as Mistress of Ceremonies for the Cannes Film Festival in 2005.


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